Twitter Tweaks

The proliferation of social media into our society has allowed for a wide range of unique social spaces to crop up all over the internet and find their niche in the public’s socialization desires. Instagram inspires the photographer in all of us, Tumblr allows for the perfect escape to humor and “fandom feels”. Facebook found its place in connecting real life friends on the internet, and Twitter created a social space in which people can connect with others they admire. Twitter is a bit of the odd man out when it comes to its social media siblings;  many users join to follow people they don’t know in real life. This, paired with its easy to use reverse chronological feed, has allowed Twitter to rise to the top of the social media food chain among teenagers.  However, this all may be about to change.

Twitter, which has been subject to strictly minimal adjustments since its start in July of 2006, is posed to undergo changes in its algorithm. The changes were outlined in the site’s  support section under “What’s a Twitter Timeline?“. The timeline was redefined as follows:

  • Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.  –Twitter’s Support Page

Previously, a user’s time line was limited to displaying tweets and retweets from people they followed and the occasional promoted tweet. Now, users may see tweets from people they don’t follow, potentially making it harder to get at content they specifically asked to see.

The change in and of itself is not what has avid Twitter users concerned; it’s to what it could potentially lead. Facebook, because of its massive amount of ardent users, already has in place an algorithm that censors the content that reaches each persons timeline. Companies and individuals are then forced to pay to promote content that should already be reaching people who like their pages or are friends with them. The worry here is that the new algorithm change is Twitter’s first step to a more Facebook like approach to content, where tweets are censored and promoted based on an individual’s online interaction with the people they follow.

Of course, if this were the case, Twitter is a long way off from a potential complete abolishment of the way their site works, but it definitely brings them one step closer.

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